Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Hawaiʻi - Genealogy Research

Getting Started

This guide was created to help genealogy researchers locate the genealogy records they need to trace their lineage to learn more about their family. The various tabs will point you to key genealogy resources and includes some useful background information to help you along the way. Some of the tabs are long with content. Use the icon  that appears on the right side of the page when you start scrolling down to quickly move back to the top. Consult with a librarian if you need help. We are here to help you, especially if you get stuck. E-mail Kapena Shim (kapena@hawaii.edu), one of the Hawaiian Collection librarians at UH Mānoa Hamilton Library.

Before you begin searching in all the databases, take a few moments to populate your Kupuna Chart (linked below) to gather all the information you have so far and go back as far as you can. Be sure to write down any "vital" information—birth, marriage, and death dates. This will be the foundation that you build upon and it can help you strategically and critically use the various databases to find genealogy records. Talk with your family as well to gather even more information and records that they have collected previously. It is easy to get disorganized while researching. To help you stay organized, I suggest you download or print the other genealogy worksheets linked below. You should also keep a notebook or some sort of document that you can log and keep track of all the databases and names you searched. Last piece of advice—sign up for a free Hawaiʻi State Public Library card if you are a Hawaiʻi resident. With your library card, you can access the library edition of Ancestry.com online through September 30, 2020. Sign up too for FamilySearch.org. It is free and you can find a lot of information in there that is also available in Ancestry.com.

Key Databases

The tabs in this guide will give you a broad and depth overview of the kinds of genealogy records you will find in a number of key research repositories. This can easily be overwhelming because many records exist in print and microfilm and are oftentimes duplicated between repositories. Nowadays, with the rise of digitization, many of the records that were microfilmed are now available online in a number of genealogy-related databases. Below is a short list of those databases that you can use to start your research. If you are not finding much, then I suggest you research using the tabs as these will get you into the specific indexes of the database to make your research more focused.

Moʻokūʻauhau Research Guide and Worksheets

Below is a genealogy research guide and a set of genealogy research worksheets that was created specifically to help kānaka research their genealogy and to help them navigate all the various repositories. It was created by Jessica Kalika EnYuck Wong as part of her Hawaiian Studies Plan B thesis titled: Navigating Through Repositories: Making Mo'okū'auhau Research User-Friendly. Mahalo nui to Kalika for sharing these excellent genealogy resources with us.